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Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview - Bartertown.com Admins - Part 2 with Jim (porkuslime)

Okay continuing the interview done with Bartertown.com administrators Eric (MagikalMemories) and Jim (porkuslime) I have Jim's answers to the questions sent to them.

Here's how his answers went down:

BJC: How did you come to be associated with the site - as a user/trader and as an admin?

Jim: I started here in 2004. Looking for a site to try to reduce the amount of models I had at spousal urging, and I realized that I could swap stuff I had, for stuff I didn't have to buy! Used the site sporadically until 2007, when I got sucked back into 40k with the fabulous new Ork models.. and used the site to almost totally rebuild my addiction. Saw the Watch as a place to contribute to the site. Grew to know and appreciate Eric (who was always a shrinking violet, shy, not verbal.. and was able to coax him out of his shell). Realized that he and I were kindred soul-mates.. had a "bromance". As we did Watch duties, we talked a fair amount, and came to the realization that we had good ideas, and "fed" well off each other. We approached Lin as a team, and proposed that we be Mod staff.. partially cause Eric was ego driven and I have control issues. Lin thought we had promise, and did some staff shuffling. In fall 2008, we became Mods, and continued to mesh well. We found ourselves making calls, and being on-site far more than Lin, Adam or Morlock, and in early spring 2009 we again talked to Lin about being "Admin".. but since NEITHER Eric nor I felt like we could do it solo, and having "teamworked" so far in the past, we were jointly advanced.(portions of the prior paragraph were written with heavy sarcasm).

BJC: How would you describe the ideal of bartertown and its affect on the gaming community who use it?

Jim: Ideally, I think this site is close to where it is perfect. We have fabulous staff, who try to make our members feel safe and secure, dispensing advice and chastisement where needed. I would appreciate it if low-life scammers stay away, but understand that we are a big target .. we have 16k members, and that paints a big juicy sign that there might be "fruit to pick" for scam artists.

BJC: What do you think attracts the frugal gamer to choose a trading site over say ebay?

Jim: Well, the name of the site is Bartertown.. so I think it is because of Bartering. Yes, you can get deals off Ebay, but that is like buying from a store. No chance of talking the price down, or expanding on the current deal. BT supports a fluid process, where things can change as the members talk and hash things out. You cannot haggle with an Auction seller.

BJC: What would you consider to be "essential" trading etiquette?

Jim: Pictures. Excruciating descriptive text. Communication x4. So many deals can be sabotaged by NOT letting your partners know something .. be it delays in shipping, missing parts, etc. Some people stop communications because they are embarrassed, or because they worry about a negative feedback, or something trivial that COULD be worked around IF they talked it out. Timeliness in resolution. DON"T start a trade knowing that you have to move in a week.
BJC:  How do you spot a "scammer"?

Jim: For me, experience. Looking for key phrases or patterns. Eric hit the most common ones, but I think one thing that Eric missed, is "Trying to use other site references" Bartertown has a very good Trade Rating system.. and we like seeing our members use it for establishing trust. We do see, however, some folks saying things like "Check out my Ebay Feedback - email me for my account there". What can happen is they link to someone elses Ebay rating and pass it off as their own. No guarantee that the rating linked to is that persons account.

BJC: Why not charge for membership?

Jim: Why SHOULD we charge for it? We have good advertisers who fiscally support the site, it doesn't cost a heck of a lot to have a website nowdays.. and we are not in the buisiness of trading toys to make money ourselves. About the ONLY reason I have heard advanced is to stop spambots and scammers from registering. We have staff to deal with that, though.
BJC: Where do you see the bartertown site heading?

Jim: Upwards? Not sure how to answer that. We have a dedicated staff, gaming companies still make games, and people need/want a place to trade away stuff they don't want for stuff they do want. We have a committed membership.. sometimes very vocal membership.. and a lot of site updates and directions CAN be traced back to member input. Even one or 2 things might be Erics fault back from when he was a member.. 

BJC: If you could add or take away a feature from the site what would it be?

Jim: When registering for the site, I would LOVE to make Member Location mandatory. That is a software solution that Trademaster Adam is working on, as well as a "security" question to help strain out the spammers that hit the site occasionally. 

That concludes the interview.  I'd like to thank for Eric and Jim for taking time to answer my questions.  Gamers if you're not a member of Bartertown, then I highly recommend you hop on over there and join up.  It's FREE folks, and it's worth it.

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